ANZCEN Faculty Chair Tara Pidgeon with Janice Hay and Rae Cole from the Brisbane Northside Emergency Department Wound Aid Team who won the Education Program of the Year award at the 2021 Emergency Nursing Education Awards.
ANZCEN Faculty Chair Tara Pidgeon with Janice Hay and Rae Cole from the Brisbane Northside Emergency Department Wound Aid Team who won the Education Program of the Year award at the 2021 Emergency Nursing Education Awards.

Wound Aid Team named Education Program of the Year

Are you ready to “debride and conquer”? 

A decision to go back to basics and create a streamlined approach to wound care has proven beneficial to both patients and health professionals at Brisbane Northside Emergency. 

Any break on the skin comes under wound from skin tears on the elderly, to burns, scalds, and grazes. 

According to Nurse Unit Manager at Brisbane Northside Emergency, Janice Hay, there was a need to provide consistency of care for patients which resulted in the development of the Wound Aid Team (WAT). 

Ms Hay said initially the WAT focused on education to familiarise staff with the products being used in wound care “but then we decided to go back to basics” addressing topics such as best practice for patients and preparation of the wound bed. 

“What did we achieve? We achieved competent and confident nurses and doctors.” 

To help provide consistency of care to patients, Ms Hay said they came up with the ABC of wound care which covers: Action to be taken (A), Biofilm in wounds (B), and Choices (C). 

Action to be taken includes the use of a photo diary process whereby, with consent from the patient, images are taken of the wound from initial presentation to after the first lot of wound care. The process is repeated when the patient comes back. 

“The photo diary has been incredible for our success and as an education tool,” Ms Hay said. “Taking photographs, you could see the improvements. 

“We blow the photo up as well. You might think you have debrided it (the wound) but blowing it up you can see areas of biofilm you have missed.” 

At its heart though, the WAT is about wound preparation which Ms Hay said can take a “good hour” to do properly. 

“If you don’t prepare the wound bed your wound will not heal.” 

Aiding in the wound preparation process the WAT has started using the “green whistle” during debridement.  

Ms Hay said during her time in the UK they had access to the green whistle for procedures such as shoulder stabilisation and suturing “so we introduced this, and it has made an incredible difference”. 

Once the wound is prepared, it is all about choices including what type of dressing (what are you trying to achieve? Moisture balancing, debridement, etc.), what analgesia to take home, what patient education is needed and what follow up care is required. 

To help achieve a positive outcome Ms Hay said it is also important to have the patient actively engaged in the process with the photo diary useful as an educational tool. 

“We know when they haven’t complied. Education to the patient is imperative especially to the relatives because they don’t like to see their relative in pain.” 

The success of the Wound Aid Team was acknowledged at the Australian & New Zealand College of Emergency Nursing (ANZCEN) 2021 Emergency Nursing Education Awards as Education Program of the Year. 

“Our team was so overwhelmed when we came back,” Ms Hay said. “We do a damn good job with this and get great results.”

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